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Legally Blonde
Legally Blonde film poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Robert Luketic
Produced by
  • Marc Platt
  • Ric Kidney
Screenplay by
  • Karen McCullah Lutz
  • Kirsten Smith
Music by Rolfe Kent
Cinematography Anthony B. Richmond
Editing by Anita Brandt-Burgoyne
Distributed by MGM Distribution Co. (United States)
20th Century Fox (International)
Release date(s) July 13, 2001 (2001-07-13)
Running time 96 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $18 million
Money made $141.8 million

Legally Blonde is a 2001 American romantic comedy film directed by Robert Luketic in his feature-length directorial debut, and scripted by Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith from Amanda Brown's 2001 novel of the same name. It stars Reese Witherspoon, Luke Wilson, Selma Blair, Matthew Davis, Victor Garber, and Jennifer Coolidge. The story follows Elle Woods (Witherspoon), a sorority girl who attempts to win back her ex-boyfriend Warner Huntington III (Davis) by getting a Juris Doctor degree at Harvard Law School, and in the process, overcomes stereotypes against blondes and triumphs as a successful lawyer.

The outline of Legally Blonde originated from Brown's experiences as a blonde going to Stanford Law School while being obsessed with fashion and beauty, reading Elle magazine, and frequently clashing with the personalities of her peers. In 2000, Brown met producer Marc Platt, who helped her develop her manuscript into a novel. Platt brought in screenwriters McCullah Lutz and Smith to adapt the book into a motion picture. The project caught the attention of director Luketic, an Australian newcomer who came to Hollywood on the success of his quirky debut short film Titsiana Booberini. "I had been reading scripts for two years, not finding anything I could put my own personal mark on, until Legally Blonde came around," Luketic said.

The film was released on July 13, 2001, and was a hit with audiences, grossing $141 million worldwide on an $18 million budget, as well as receiving moderately positive reviews from critics, with particular praise going to Witherspoon's performance. It was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture: Musical or Comedy. Witherspoon received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, and the 2002 MTV Movie Award for Best Female Performance. The film has gained a Cult following.

The box office success led to a series of films: a 2003 sequel, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, and a 2009 direct-to-DVD spin-off, Legally Blondes. Additionally, Legally Blonde: The Musical premiered on January 23, 2007, in San Francisco and opened in New York City at the Palace Theatre on Broadway on April 29, 2007, starring Laura Bell Bundy.

In May 2020, it was announced that Mindy Kaling and Dan Goor were signed to write a third film. The third film was set to release in 2022 but has been delayed to an undisclosed date.


Fashion merchandising student and sorority girl Elle Woods is taken to an expensive restaurant by her boyfriend, Warner Huntington III. She expects a proposal, but he breaks up with her instead. Intending to go to Harvard Law School and become a successful politician, he believes that Elle is not "serious" enough for that kind of life. Elle believes she can win Warner back if she shows herself capable of achieving the same things. After months of studying, Elle scores a 179 on the Law School Admission Test and, combined with her 4.0 GPA, is accepted to Harvard Law School.

Upon arriving at Harvard, Elle's SoCal personality is a complete contrast to her East Coast classmates, who frequently distrust her. She soon encounters Warner but discovers he is engaged to his old girlfriend, Vivian Kensington, who considers Elle a fool. Later, Elle tells Warner that she intends to apply for one of her professor's internships, but he tells her that she is wasting her time as she is not intelligent enough. Realizing that Warner will never take her back or take her seriously, Elle finds motivation to prove herself by working hard and demonstrating her understanding of the subject.

The following semester, Professor Callahan, the school's most respected teacher, decides to take on some first-year interns to help with a high-profile case. Among those chosen are Elle, Warner, and Vivian. Callahan is defending a prominent fitness instructor named Brooke Windham, one of Elle's role models. Brooke is unwilling to produce her alibi, and she later reveals to Elle that she was having liposuction, a fact that would ruin her reputation, which Elle promises not to disclose. Vivian gains a new respect for Elle and reveals that Warner could not get into Harvard without his father's help. Emmett Richmond, Callahan's junior partner, has also taken notice of her potential.

One night, Callahan seeks Elle's attention, who now believes that is why she got the internship. Devastated, she quits and nearly returns home to California, telling Emmett what happened. When he tells Brooke, she fires Callahan, replacing him with Elle under Emmett's guidance; as she is only a law student, Emmett cites a Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling that law students may represent clients if they do so under the supervision of a licensed attorney (though in actuality this ruling only applies to third-year law students).

Elle begins to cross-examine Brooke's stepdaughter, Chutney, and catches her in a lie when she discovers significant inconsistencies in her story: Chutney testified that she was home during her father's murder but did not hear the gunshot because she was in the shower after getting her hair permed that morning. Elle says that washing permed hair within the first 24 hours would deactivate the ammonium thioglycolate, pointing out that Chutney's curls are still intact. A distraught Chutney admits her culpability in inadvertently killing her father as she really intended to kill Brooke because she hated the fact that her father married someone the same age as her.

After the trial, Chutney is sent to jail, and Warner approaches Elle and asks her to take him back as she has proven herself. She rejects him, realizing that he is shallow and a "complete bonehead". However, she and Vivian become good friends, especially after Vivian dumps Warner. Elle gives the graduation speech two years later, while Warner graduates with no honors, no job offers, and no girlfriend. Emmett has started his own law firm and has been dating Elle for two years, with plans to propose to her later that night.



The success of the film spawned a sequel, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, a musical, one straight-to-home video release starring British twins Camilla and Rebecca Rosso, Legally Blondes, and a third theatrical film in development, with Mindy Kaling and Dan Goor announced as writers.


In April 2007, a musical adaptation premiered on Broadway to mixed reviews, starring Laura Bell Bundy as Elle, Christian Borle as Emmett, Orfeh as Paulette, Nikki Snelson as Brooke, Richard H. Blake as Warner, Kate Shindle as Vivienne, and Michael Rupert as Callahan, running until October 19, 2008. The show, Bundy, Borle, and Orfeh were all nominated for Tony Awards. Later, the Broadway show was the focus of an MTV reality-TV series called Legally Blonde: The Musical – The Search for Elle Woods, in which the winner would take over the role of Elle on Broadway. Bailey Hanks from Anderson, South Carolina, won the competition.

Legally Blonde also had a three-year run at the Savoy Theatre in London's West End, starring Sheridan Smith, Susan McFadden, and Carley Stenson as Elle, and Duncan James, Richard Fleeshman, Simon Thomas, and Ben Freeman as Warner. During its run, the cast also included Alex Gaumond, Denise Van Outen, and Lee Mead.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Legally Blonde para niños

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